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California Drought: Fines Approved For Wasteful Outdoor Water Use

california droughtCalifornia is known for its extremely hot weather and drought conditions. The state recently made headlines for imposing harsh fines on homeowners who continued to use water over and above what was recently mandated when the state is under drought advisories. Legislators went so far as to encourage people to turn in their neighbors in an attempt to shame people into abiding by the law. Many celebrities in the area have blatantly refused to follow the law and, in return, have been forced to pay millions of dollars in fines.


California's New Water Laws

California's new water wasting usage laws state that fines will be levied against homeowners who continue to use water unnecessarily while the state is under a drought warning. The law states that due to California drought conditions, homeowners are prohibited from wasting water on tasks that do not serve a justifiable purpose. A few of these include:

  • Watering lawns

  • Washing their cars

  • Watering trees or shrubs

  • Using water toys such as slip-n-slides or swimming pools

Homeowners who see neighbors violating the new ordinances are encouraged to contact the authorities and report the situation. It is being stressed to all involved that the state's water situation is extremely precarious. Homeowners have been told repeatedly that water sources may not continue to be available if water continues to be wasted at current rates.

While this is not the first time California drought conditions have caused for a ban on wasting water, the current drought conditions are severe enough to call for drastic measures. With water sources disappearing at alarming rates, homeowners are in fear of losing water service altogether.

Different Ways to Conserve Water During California Drought Conditions

Individuals are being advised to conserve water in any way possible. This includes taking shorter showers and baths, turning off running water when you are brushing your teeth or doing the dishes. Eliminate giving baths to pets until the drought situation has passed. There are several others ways of conserving water that many people do not consider. They include:

  • Installing low flow toilets

  • Replacing regular shower and faucet heads with water saving ones that can be easily turned on and off without touching the main knobs or handles.

  • Use a dishwasher

  • Only run the dishwasher or clothes washer when full loads are available

  • Make sure faucets are turned completely off

  • Don't leave water running when you are performing other tasks

  • Install artificial turf

Residents are encouraged to only use water when it is absolutely necessary for either foods or hygiene.

Enforcing the Fines

In the past, fines that were levied against homeowners who violated local watering ordinances were sent notices of the fines. In some cases, little was done to actually enforce the law. The fines were then attached to the homes' property taxes and had to be paid at the same time the tax obligation was paid for.

With the new laws and ordinances now in place, things are changing. Homeowners are now being issued written tickets that must be paid in the fashion as parking tickets. If the tickets and fines continue to go unpaid, legislators are requesting that warrants be issued to force homeowners to comply with the law.

The fact that individuals are being asked to turn in their neighbors or others who are violating the new ordinances proves the seriousness of the situation. As California drought conditions continue, the problem is only expected to escalate. Although legislators are hopeful the new laws will help conserve water, the animosity it is causing between those who save water and those who don't will continue to drive a wedge between friends and neighbors.

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Photocredit: John Weiss via Flickr

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